COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah (ABC4) — Those who live and work near a busy Cottonwood Heights road are calling for better crosswalk protections after a 12-year-old boy was seriously hurt Monday, being struck by a car while trying to cross the street.
Ashley Blair, who works near East Fort Union Boulevard, said she’s been asking city officials for additional protections at the crosswalk near Bella Vista Elementary School for years. She said that she’s witnessed numerous close calls at the crosswalk, where students and staff often struggle to cross the four lanes of traffic.
“I’ve been sending emails to the mayor and the city council. I’ve also been speaking with the city engineer on the phone, and that’s been a two-year process,” she said. “There’s been no movement on any kind of crossing assistance here. Flashing light, anything.”
The speed limit on East Fort Union Boulevard is 40 mph. On Monday evening, a boy walking along the crosswalk near the elementary school was struck by a car, even though he was carrying a bright orange flag to alert drivers.
The child suffered critical injuries but is expected to survive.
“A child was hit by a car when he was obeying all the crossing procedures,” Blair said. “And, unfortunately, this road is so busy, and the cars didn’t see him because there’s no crosswalk signal.”
City police said the driver involved in the collision appeared to be impaired. Officers arrested the woman, identified in an affidavit of probable cause as 67-year-old Sheree Hudson-Isom, on suspicion of DUI. Per the court documents, Hudson-Isom told officers she’s taken prescription opiates before getting behind the wheel.
At another crosswalk in the city, about two miles from where the 12-year-old boy was struck, Wade Hansen’s 11-year-old son, Henry, was also hit by a car while crossing the street.
Hansen said his son was struck in June at the crosswalk near the intersection of East Creek Road and Telford Way, even after he’d waited for cars to stop.
“He had started to cross the crosswalk, and there was a driver who came up and hadn’t seen the other cars stop,” Hansen said. “She swerved around the cars to try and avoid hitting them and ended up hitting Henry.”
After Henry was hit, changes were made to the crosswalk on East Creek Road. The improvements, which included flashing lights, appear to be helping, Hansen said, especially in the morning when children are on their way to school.
Yet, Hansen noted that several calls for additional crosswalk protections were made before his son was hit.
Hansen and Blair are hoping the city has the funding to add flashing lights to crosswalks on East Fort Union Boulevard. Or, if funds are lacking, they believe other measures should be taken to lessen the chance another person is struck while crossing the street.
“Anything that we can put in place that is going to help drivers be better drivers and be more aware when someone is in that crosswalk, I think it’s going to be money well spent,” Hansen said.